Photographer participates in Front Steps Project to benefit charity

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local photographer is bringing more smiles to a dark time and is using her skills to donate to charity.

Siri Benrud has been operating her photography business for 13 years, and a pandemic was not on her business plan for this year. However, she is making the best of the situation by participating in a project to give back.

Inspired by a Massachusetts photographer on Facebook, the Front Steps Project is a way for photographers to give back to their communities in multiple ways, while still being safe.

Siri Benrud of Menomonie is participating, and for the last two days she’s been taking family photos for local families and using their donations to donate to charity.

“I’m hoping to spread some cheer during this time and raise some funds for our local organizations,” she says.

She’s raised about $900 in the two days she’s been doing it. Families say they are happy that she’s using her talents to give back to the community.

“A lot of people have been reaching out, wanting to donate, they’ve just all been super supportive and excited about this project, and trying to spread the word and hopefully it just continues to spread throughout other communities and raise lots of funds,” says Benrud.

Benrud has to use a zoom lens to abide by safety rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We are trying to keep our social distancing of 6 feet or more. It’s not a typical session where I’m interacting or placing people like I normally do, but kind of directing them from afar, and just staying back and enjoying their time together,” she says.

The project will benefit a local food pantry, the Dunn County Humane Society, and the Wisconsin Foster Closet.

Benrud is also documenting firefighters and police officers, who can’t stay home when most families are. Although she might have to discontinue her efforts with Governor Evers’ order today, she says she’s really enjoyed participating in the project.